Flooding Families is California's "Preferred Alternative" at Lake Earl

August 5, 2003

By Richard McNamara

Crescent City, California - The California Department of Fish and Game's Proposed Management Plan has three alternatives. The "preferred" alternative, floods private lands, floods an old dump maybe filled with agricultural chemicals, floods Native American burial sites, and destroys wildlife habitat.

The lower lake alternative maintains the lake in its historic channel and has no impact at all.

The third alternative, the natural Lake alternative, proposes to let Lake Earl rise until it breeches itself.

The impact of this in the short run is to destroy hundreds of homes.

In the long run its impact is not measurable.

Possible consequences include extreme variations in the location of the mouth of the Smith River.

If the Lake reached twenty feet, the discharge could go through the old Wooley Port channel into the Crescent City harbor itself.

In the past fifteen years Fish and Game has systematically raised the winter flood level of Lake Earl, a lagoon north of Crescent City, CA.

This policy, which has been fought by a coalition of farmers, families, and County Supervisors, is now called the 'status quo' for purposes of the proposed management plan.

The hundreds, or -- if Native Americans are correct -- thousands of years of human breaching of the lagoon mouth, is viewed in the report as if it were some sort of local myth.

Breaching is needed to prevent widespread destruction of homes, farms, livestock, habitat, and roads in the area.

Fish and Game proposes to continue breaching, but only after water is allowed to flood the residents first.

The plan says that by doing this they can raise the Lake from an average 4 foot above sea level to 4.6 feet above sea level.

All that destruction for a six-tenths of a foot increase in the average level of the lake -- what [utter] nonsense.

Local activists from Lake Earl Grange, the Del Norte Taxpayers League, Rural Resource Alliance, Del Norte Farm Bureau and others, are working with the Pacific Shores Water District, to insure that the Lower Lake Alternative in the proposed Plan is adopted -- instead of the cynically named "preferred alternative."

We would like to thank the hundreds of you who signed our petition supporting the lower lake alternative at the Del Norte County Fair, and we urge you to let your supervisors know you prefer the lower lake alternative too.

You can read the California Department of Fish and Game's Proposed Management Plan for the Lake Earl Wildlife Area at: http://www.dfg.ca.gov/lewa/.

We also urge you to contact Fish and Game using the methods described on their web site or by writing to: California Department of Fish and Game, 619 2nd St. Eureka, CA 95501